When talking about the installation of a laminate floor in a wet area, what do we really mean?  Wet areas are those places in the home where there is the potential for water problems. Some of our most useful rooms – bathrooms, laundry rooms and even kitchens – should throw up a red flag whenever talking about potential water issues.

In the bathroom: This area is a mecca for potential water problems. The sink, the toilet, and the bathtub are accidents waiting to happen as far as spills go.

In the laundry room: On laundry day, the washing machine is your best friend … at least until your floors are covered in sudsy water.

In the kitchen: While not typically thought of as a wet area, the kitchen has plenty of potential water hazards, including the dishwasher and any refrigerator with an icemaker. That’s to say nothing of a stopped-up and overflowing sink.

So what is the best way to prevent potential water issues? The first rule of thumb is to always check the manufacturer’s installation instructions for any special requirements such as applying glue to the tongue and groove in areas where water can be present. By following the manufacturer’s recommendations, you reduce your liability as the installer. Also, failing to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations can void a warranty and result in the floor failing.

Most laminate manufacturers will recommend that these areas be sealed with some type of sealant.  I recommend using 100 percent silicone. The silicone should be applied to the area where the laminate meets the subfloor during installation. There is no need to reapply down the road.

If there is a water leak or some type of overflow from the bathtub, the washing machine or the dishwasher, the silicone will help prevent the water from getting under the floor. I also recommend using sealant around the flange of the toilet, in front of the dishwasher, and around the areas where a refrigerator or washing machine is located. A wet area such as a basement with a floor drain is not an acceptable installation.

Let’s keep those rooms dry!


About the Author

Ron Starkey is an installation expert who has worked in the floorcovering industry for 46 years in various roles. He is a NALFA Certified Installer and a NALFA Certified Inspector with over 20 years of experience inspecting flooring installations.